In [the United States] biotechnology is still perceived primarily as a regulatory and legal problem, not an economic opportunity. A regulatory structure has been fashioned that is functioning quite well in assuring the public that the science of biotechnology is safe. Beyond the regulatory concerns, however, there is a political vacuum. Historically, I think, it is fair to say that our country rarely charts a long-term strategy for emerging technologies in order to assure they are properly recognized and supported, let alone to assure that they deliver the economic benefits they offer.

In other words, much effort is being expended to see that nothing goes wrong, but little effort is being expended to see that things go right. To put it still another way, most of the Nobel Prizes in genetic engineering are here, but not enough is being done to assure that the industry they create will be found...

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